I’ve seen 72 films this year and have written about 6 of them. Can I catch up?
6: Ninja Cheerleaders (DVD)
The golden era of the exploitation movie is well past, but it was never that much of a golden age in the first place. As Al and Sarah are discovering in their Welcome To Violence flick through Russ Meyer’s back catalogue, exploitation movies cannot be reviewed like normal films. Or at least they can, but once you have gone past listing the failings in art direction, script and acting you leave yourself very little room to explain why it was all so exciting. If it was exciting, because the flaws in acting, dialogue, script, art direction and pretty much everything has been known to sink many an exploitation film. That and not knowing exactly what you are exploiting.
None of which is an excuse for Ninja Cheerleaders, a straight to DVD film which I saw in the new releases list on Lovefilm and thought, “that could be fun”. It wasn’t.It could have been. But it wasn’t. It gamely tries to be fun, but presenting clearly overage “teen” cheerleaders who also happen to be the worst fucking ninjas* in the world isn’t enough. As a kung fu sexpolitation film it seems far too worried about being vaguely politically acceptible, which is the kiss of death for this kind of film. Because being ninjas (even the worst in the world) is seen to be as empowering as being a cheerleader, good in class, pretty and being a stripper for all the right reasons. It does over-egg the pudding by making them strippers, who then bump, grind but do not actually strip much. The same is true of their ninjitsu, a lot of posturing but its really just a couple of judo throws. But then what kind of ninjitsu could Gergoe Takei teach you? As ever with these kind of ninja films, the cheerleading ninja’s only use their ninja skills to help out a mate, don’t kill people (not that they could) and are all good girls at heart. Driving around in their red cherry VW, they are stripping to save money for college tuition (they all got in to Brown), and generally beating up people who think they are objectified sex objects. The film knows this, acknowledges it and therefore destroys any of the fun of it even being properly tacky, stupid or even nasty. It just ends up being bland. Particularly as the martial arts are terrible.
I was not expecting anything as good as even the Buffy The Vampire Slayer film, or D.E.B.S. (neither of which are that good). Actually I wasn’t expecting it at all, as I forgot I put it on my list. But it really, really wasn’t very good. Its basically an exploitation film that you could watch with your parents. Which is no kind of exploitation film.
Note, apparently not to be confused with Cheerleader Ninjas:
*And I am including the three kiddie ninjas’ from the 3 Ninja’s films: 3 Ninja’s, 3 Ninja’s Strike Back, 3 Ninja’s Knuckle Up and oddly for a third sequel the best of the bunch, 3 Ninja’s: Nigh Noon At Mega Mountain.